Customer Service, How Do They Hate Thee? Let Us Count the Ways



Consumer Business Reports released a new customer service study according to Tamara Schweitzer Rabin. I doubt if any of the results were surprising since most people have gripes about customer service experiences.

But set of statistics stuck out for me:

  • 71% said they were most annoyed about not being able to reach a live person on the phone
  • 67% said they hung up without getting their issue resolved
  • 16% prefer to resolve the issue in person

It is that last one compared to the others that we need to think about. What does it mean?

It means when people want to resolve their issues they would rather be able to do so without contacting someone…maybe they would rather look it up in a customer accessable knowledgebase or look in some FAQs, or forums….anything but get on a phone or in a car to talk to someone.

This is good news for those who have created usable and completely relevent and updated self service offerings for their customers, either on a phone tree or (more preferably) online.

It also means that when people do need to call they REALLY need to quickly talk to a person who is knowledgeable about the problems. No waiting on hold forever, no talking to someone who is merely going through the script, no untrained support rep guessing how to fix it.

If the first point can be accomplished, then the second one becomes easiler to fulfill. Create a user-friendly, customer accessable knowledge base and FAQ that is full of relevant, current, and accurate answers to customer questions and it will deflect a certain number of calls. You can also consider customer forums for peer support.

Deflecting calls about issues that customers can, and would rather, handle on their own creates more time to deal with those who absolutely, positively want help from a human NOW.

If you have a decent product and can take care of issues quickly and with minimal need for waiting, customers will stay with you.


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